Questions answered

Rayja Fowler, English and criminal justice major

Simpsonville, South Carolina, native Rayja Fowler chose the University of South Carolina because she wanted to stay in-state. Now the criminal justice and English major is preparing to start law school, if not at Carolina then at Emory or William and Mary. In the near term, she’s excited about commencement. “I’m looking forward to my family coming to see me walk at graduation,” she says. “A lot of my family hasn’t gone to college, so any time one of us in my generation makes it out, it becomes a really big celebration."

I wanted to stay in-state. I was born and raised here, and all of my family is here. My mom went to South Carolina for the first two years of her education. It felt nice following in her footsteps.

I loved meeting people from different places and that instant connection you make as a freshman that only freshmen can make.

When I joined mock trial, I felt like I found a family. I played sports all through high school, and I was used to a competitive team vibe. I got that from mock trial.

The thought of going to law school is scary and stressful. But I keep reminding myself that at the end of the day it’s school, and I’ve always been good at school. Law school has been my dream as long as I can remember.

I did not expect to like my grammar class. It turned out to be an interesting class because it blended culture and language, which is a perspective on English I hadn’t gotten before. It was about how people’s culture affects the way they speak and what type of language they use.

If I didn’t want to become a lawyer, I’d still feel like USC has given me the opportunity to pursue any field I want.

I am a criminal justice major because of Theresa Clement. I took her for Criminal Justice 101 freshman year, and I loved it. Her background is as a defense attorney. She talks about what the law is and also why the law is. She walked me through whatever crazy things I was thinking about.

Advice to my freshman self? My practical advice is always carry an umbrella. My advice about college in general is go into every class wanting to learn something.

I’ll miss how open the future can be when you’re an undergrad. In law school, the expectation is that you’ll become a lawyer, but in undergrad you can really do anything, there’s no period. There’s always question marks when you’re an undergrad.

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